Votes follow spending in this year’s commissioner’s race

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 28, 2018

SALISBURY — Votes followed the money in this year’s Rowan County commissioners election, with the highest fundraisers getting the most votes.

It’s a far cry from the last time Republican incumbents Greg Edds, Jim Greene and Judy Klusman were on the ballot. In 2014, Greene raised nearly $10,000 less than fellow Republicans Klusman and Edds but snagged the highest number of votes.

Democratic challenger Veleria Levy is also feeling the difference. She raised nearly $7,000 more than other top fundraisers in her 2014 bid for commissioner, yet fell short on the ballot by more than 10,000 votes.

Not so this year. With four of five candidates raising a collective $43,491 and spending $33,869, the rankings in spending mirrored the final results at the polls.

Latasha Wilks, the second Democrat on the ballot, filed a certification of threshold in February, declaring an intent to neither receive nor spend more than $1,000 during the election cycle. She was thus excused from filing a finance report.

Klusman, who topped the ballot with 31,803 votes in November, brought in the most during the campaign’s first three quarters. From Jan. 1 to Oct. 20, she raised a total of $19,869 and spent $16,051.59.

Some $5,500 of receipts came in loan proceeds from Klusman herself. Other top contributors included Edward Norvell, $2,000; Paul Fisher, $1,500; and Greg Alcorn, $1,500, each contributing in multiple quarters.

Other contributors of $100 or more to Klusman’s campaign included:

• Bill Graham, Matt Barr and Tom Smith, $1,000 each.

• Steven Fisher, $750.

• Dwight Messenger, E. Hayes Smith, Fred Stanback and Robert Victor Wallace, $500 each.

• David Post, Greg Edds, Greg Shields, Mona Lisa Wallace and Susan Cox, $250 each.

• Joyce Goodwin and Mark Ritchie, $200.

• Annette Roberts, Bryan Wymbs, Carl Short Jr., David Wilson, Harold Roberts Jr., James Greene, Jason Walser, Norman Sloop, Paul Woodson, Richard Huffman, Robert Cook Jr., Sylvia Andrews and Tim Proper, $100 each.

Klusman’s highest expenditure was to Miller Davis Agency for yard signs, mailings, and social and print media, costing a total of $13,575 over 10 months.

Other expenses included $800 to DKM Group for her web page; $750 to WSAT for radio ads; $749.39 to the Salisbury Post for advertisements; $131.82 to the Rowan County Board of Elections for filing; and $45 in electronic fund transfers.

Edds followed Klusman by bringing in $14,495 and spending $11,058. He followed her more closely on the ballot with 31,768 votes.

The current board chairman’s top campaign contributions included a $1,000 donation from himself, as well as $1,000 contributions from Matt Barr, Larry Jones, Edward Norvell and Bryan Overcash.

Additional contributions over $100 came from:

• Gregory Alcorn, Paul Fisher, Vance Merhoff, Dwight Messinger, Tom Smith, Fred Stanback, Kenneth Washko and Gerry Wood, $500 each.

• Susan Cox, Luke Fisher, Steven Fisher, Bill Godley, Joan Leatherman, David Norris, Mark Petty and Danny Shaw, $250 each.

• James Murphy, $200.

• David Treme, $150.

• Kenneth Andrews, Robert Cook Jr., John Fisher, Kyna Grubb, Richard Huffman, Mark Jennings, William Kenerly, Stephen Kidd, Phillip Kirk Jr., Carl Repsher, Harold Roberts, James Taylor, Josh Wagner, William Wagoner, Walter Wall, Catherine Warren, Paul Woodson and Charles Patton, $100 each.

Like Klusman, Edds paid the most to Miller Davis Agency for fundraiser invitations and postcard mailings totaling $6087.50.

Edds also paid $1,444.92 to Speedy Signs USA for yard signs; $1,200 to Memories 1280 for radio ads; $1,040 to City Tavern for food and space rental; $500 to Ford Broadcasting for radio ads; $500 to the Rowan County GOP; $131.82 to the Rowan County Board of Elections for filing; $95.34 to Lowe’s for campaign sign stakes; $33.75 for checks; and $25 for a public gathering permit.

No new donations or expenditures were listed in Edds’ third-quarter report.

Greene once more raised the least among his Republican peers, raking in $7,300 and spending just $5,087. Though he trailed the other incumbents by more than half financially, he followed closely in votes with 31,645.

His top contributors were Paul E. Fisher, Dwight F. Messinger, Fred Stanback, Edward P. Norville, Gregory Alcorn, Gwen C. Barr, Matthew C. Barr, Tom E. Smith, Sue P. Fisher and John M. Fisher, each with $500.

Other donors included:

• Steven Fisher and William V. Godley, $250 each.

• Charles A. Poole and R. Victor Wallace, $200 each.

• David W. Treme, $150.

• Pete Prunkl, William D. Kenerly, Richard L. Huffman, Harold K Roberts Jr., Phillip J. Kirk Jr., E. Hayes Smith, Robert L. Cook Jr., Javis M. Arey and Raymond D. Coltrain, $100.

The current vice chairman’s expenses included $1,888.15 in advertising to the Salisbury Post; $1,095.28 in yard signs and printed campaign materials to American Solutions for Business; $1,600 in radio ads to Memories 1280; and $503.66 in design work and printed handout cards to Diversified Graphics Inc.

Levy raised $1,827 between the campaign’s second and third quarters, spending $1,672.12. She trailed incumbents by more than 17,000 votes, claiming 13,893 with Wilks following at 12,951.

Her largest contribution came from the Rowan County Democratic Party at $267.

Other contributors who gave $100 included Deborah B. Graham, Crawford Brent Safrit, Geoffrey Hoy, J. Ricks; Raymond D. Coltrain; The Opulent Cos. Inc.; Maryja Mee; William Kennedy; Karen Puckett; and Candelaria Leyvas.

Levy, like other candidates, spent the most on printed materials. Some $968.89 went to Signs on the Cheap for yard signs and $236.54 to Vistaprint for outdoor posters, business cards, embroidered hats and postcards.

Other expenses included $100 to China Grove Roller Mill for program advertising; $100 to the Rowan County Democratic Party as a donation for the July 4th parade; $121 for postage and a post office box rental; $58.79 to for postage; $36 to South State Bank for an overdraft fee; $29.15 for PayPal fees; and $21.75 to Harland Clark for a check order.